The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Picture: REUTERS
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Picture: REUTERS

London — World shares steadied near two-month highs on Monday, boosted by the hope of a trade deal and strong US corporate earnings, while the dollar traded near its highest in a week before a Federal Reserve rate decision.

MSCI’s All Country World index, which tracks shares across 47 countries, was up 0.04% on the day. It was just off its highest level since July 27.

But European shares fell as a glum profit outlook from HSBC offset gains by trade-exposed auto and mining stocks. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.16%.

The pound edged up after the EU agreed to extend the deadline for Brexit until January 31 2020. It last traded 0.06% higher at $1.2844.

Eurozone bond yields rose in anticipation of the EU’s decision, after sources said the EU was most likely to grant one.

Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5% to its highest since late July, for a third consecutive day of gains.

The CSI300 of blue-chip mainland China shares was up 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped as much as 1.0%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.3% to a one-year high. The advances came after US and European markets gained on Friday.

“Markets are likely to enter a standby mode ahead of the Fed’s rate decision on Wednesday amid ongoing developments in the China-US trade negotiations and the corporate earnings season,” Danske Bank said in a research note.

US and Chinese officials are “close to finalising” some parts of a trade agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the US trade representative’s office and China’s commerce ministry said, with talks to continue.

US President Donald Trump has said he hopes to sign the deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November at a summit in Chile.

The protracted trade war between the world’s largest economies has hurt manufacturing, exports and business confidence globally and hurt the profits of many major industrial firms.

Optimism that Beijing and Washington were close to resolving their dispute led the S&P 500 to surpass its July 26 closing record of 3,025.86, though it ended just below that level on Friday. The S&P 500’s total return index posted a record high.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.16% in early deals in London.

Strong results from companies including Intel also boosted sentiment in equities markets. More than 81% of US companies have beaten Wall Street expectations so far this earnings season, despite concerns about the trade war.

Investors next await earnings from the likes of Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and Exxon.

Activity later in the week will be dominated by the US Federal Reserve, which markets expect will lower interest rates at its Wednesday meeting. Futures show a 90% probability of a cut.

The Bank of Japan meets on Thursday. On Friday, indicators for Chinese and US manufacturing will be released.

“The outcome of the FOMC [Federal open market committee] policy meeting will most likely draw the largest market reaction,” said Richard Grace, Sydney-based chief currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank.

“We also think the risk is the FOMC will articulate a pause,” for future rate decisions, Grace said.

In currencies, the dollar index was 0.05% lower against a basket of six major currencies. The euro was edged up 0.1% to $1.1109.

Oil prices fell after strong gains last week, as data released in China reinforced signs that its economy is slowing

US crude slipped 0.65% to $56.29 a barrel. Brent fell more than 0.5% to $61.68.

Spot gold rose 0.15% to $1,506.3/oz.